Building a business – a path full of unimaginable experiences for the founders.
September 3rd, 2017
Like most great ideas, the idea for Elevator was born from a discussion held during a breakfast and a cup of tea. Together with Urmas Lilleorg from Division we understood that both of us had been thinking of how to use our creative agency potential to grow new businesses.
Parallel to this talk, I already had told to my agency staff, that if they have any interesting business ideas, I’m happy to help them bring those ideas to life with a lean startup methodology and thinking – a book that I had read during the time and was really fascinated about.
An amazing graphic designer from my Age McCann team – Johan Kallas took me from the word and a cool sleeping mask brand Ööloom was born. With 4 months we were able to bring an idea to an actual product that was ready to be sold. We made 20 masks just to understand if people like them. It was before christmas 2014. People liked the masks and by today Ööloom has sold about 11 000 sleeping masks and have other cool products in their portfolio.
Taken from the success, I asked Harry Kanistik (previously an online advertising specialist in Age McCann) to come back from Canada and launch officially Elevator business in Estonia. By that time we had ADM Interactive also as a founding partner, so 3 experienced agencies with more than 100 creative minds, led by Harry who is the guy who gets new ideas off the ground.
One of the projects that Harry was working with in Canada was Frank.ai. Within a year we were able to get Frank.ai from an idea to MVP. Elevator helped us with branding, development, strategy, customer acquisition etc. After a year working with Elevator and Frank.ai we understood with Harry that Frank.ai is ready to go to a next level.
In the end of 2016 we raised extra capital and applied to an acceleration program in US. Today we have a team of 6 and 2 of us are full time in US. We make our early revenue and have more then 100 customers from 7 countries. It has been an interesting journey so far and we give our best to make it a successful one.
Now looking back, I understand that being a partner and CEO in a well developed and successful advertising agency (Age McCann) was really interesting (also rough time to time), but gave me tens of ways to learn and develop myself. What I experience now in Frank.ai is exactly the same, just multiplied with 5.
What makes me really happy is that Elevator is now growing with fast pace. Even though I’m not actively involved anymore, I feel great honor that once an idea is now a catalyst to many new ideas and future businesses. Full of unimaginable experiences for their founders.
CEO of Frank.ai, co-founder of Elevator Startups